4 Common Culprits of Water Waste At Home (And How to Prevent Them)

According to a home water usage study, the toilet in an average Australian household wastes up to 60,000 litres of water per year. This is enough to fill a swimming pool and still leave some spare to wash the car. What's scarier still than these statistics is the fact that many households continue to use inefficient plumbing equipment or to practice poor water habits—habits that could lead to water being in scarce supply in the near future.

By simply identifying the main causes of our water waste, we can start making a change to help preserve one of our most valuable natural resources. Below are four of the biggest causes of wasted water in the home and what can be done to prevent them.

Long Showers

While showers are certainly more eco-friendly than baths, a long stint in the shower can be just as harmful to the environment as taking a long soak in the tub. Showering for longer than 5 minutes can waste between 5 and 10 gallons of water. Many can combat this by taking lightning-speed showers, but a far more eco-friendly deed may be to invest in a more efficient showerhead.  

Trade in your power shower for a low-flow showerhead. These can significantly reduce water flow without affecting the actual pressure. Aerated showerheads are also a smart choice since they mix air with water to create the steady flow of a normal shower.  

Running Water

Every hour you leave a tap to drip creates as much as one litre of water. Compare this with the water left running while washing or brushing your teeth and you're looking at a pretty eye-watering figure for water wastage. While brushing your teeth, simply keep a glass of water handy for rinsing. For your washing regime, fill the bathroom sink a third of the way full. You can use this water for cleansing your face or rinsing a razor between uses.  As with a low-flow showerhead, fitting a tap aerator can also help to reduce the flow of water—saving gallons during your morning and evening routine.

Taps can easily drip due to carelessness or rushing, but if a tap continues to drip even after twisting the handle securely, it could be a sign of a leak. In this case, you should inform your local plumber and collect any waste water in a wash bowl in the meantime.

Kitchen Water Waste

The kitchen is used so much on a daily basis that the sheer amount of water we use can easily escape our notice. From washing vegetables and dishes to filling the kettle, gallons of excess water is lost when it could all be saved to serve a purpose instead.

If you feel the need to thoroughly rinse your fruit and veg before eating them, at least try and collect the excess water—this can still be used safely to water plants or fill a bird bath. Over-filling kettles for only one or two hot drinks is also incredibly wasteful. Take care to only use necessary amounts of water when boiling or cooking. Leftover boiled water can be used to soak dirty dishes or to pre-treat surface stains and marks before cleaning.  

A Leaky Toilet

Toilets normally use 6 to 8 litres of water with each flush. Add a leak to this and a trip to the toilet can needlessly waste gallons of extra water every day. The types of toilet leaks that waste so much water are ones that are hard to detect, since they can go unnoticed for months. Fortunately, you can easily check for slow-leaks and subtle drips. A simple trick to check for a potential leak is to add a few drops of food colouring to your toilet cistern and leave it to settle for an hour without flushing. If the food colouring is still visible after an hour, it's likely you have a leak.

Be mindful about what you flush down the toilet too as this can cause leaks and other kinds of damage. Things like cosmetic wipes and pads do not sit so well with toilets—as well as risking a blockage, the added effort to dispose of them wastes more water with each flush.  Contact a plumber, like those at Sunshine Central Plumbing, for more information.

While we can always do our best to reduce water waste, there can often be issues with home water appliances that fall beyond our control and result in added wastage. If not attended to, a leaky tap or pipe can quickly lead to a more serious problem and could potentially cause irreversible damage to your home and to cherished belongings. At the first sign of any water leaks in the home, don't hesitate to contact emergency plumbers in your area. An immediate and professional repair may be able to save you a fortune in damages, as well as preserve gallons of precious water.